Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States is something everyone should own in their video library. It’s a unique view that is, sometimes, purely hindsight. Yet written in a way that shows the path that lead so many of us here to there in a way no such History professor ever could.


Can be seen on Google Play

I’m a Google TV advocate. Being a techie, why wouldn’t I be? So, maybe I can’t understand why there’s so much bad press about the Android-based black boxes. Of course, I’m more of a reserved techie. I don’t mind watching the evolution of an idea as long as its done intelligently and doesn’t try reinventing itself. Often purging the original purpose of the machine all together.

I originally purchased the Logitech Revue Google TV when it first came out. I still use it. It can’t handle Amazon Instant Video, but that’s not GTV’s fault. AIV can run for a while, but often requires a hard reboot occasionally on my Sony NSZGS8 GTV box. Same goes with any poorly hosted on-line video. On the Logitech, forget about PBS’s Frontline on-line. And on the Sony, works sometimes. But not often enough to say it actually works.

What does work on both nearly flawlessly is Netflix and Google’s Play app based on their play.google.com store. Both are excellent for viewing streaming video in Full HD. Only, the Netflix app handles digital surround sound where the Google Play app gives you only stereo and analogue surround. Oh well.

What’s really fun is being able to stream Internet audio from iTunes Airplay to both Google TV boxes and to an additional Airport Express I keep in the dining room. The additional Airport extends the WiFi so it serves a purpose rather than just hosting audio into a Klipsch 2.1 system. That’s right, whole house audio built right into each TV/Google TV you have.

How about local streaming of content? Yep. Put a Media Tomb server on your network and you can host up any video codec the Android OS can handle.

And, for those times you want to get very techie, I have to recommend the Better Terminal Pro app. You can SSH and get access to the GTV FS.

I expect the evolution to continue. As of today Netflix is at about 44 Million subscribers, so the world of streaming video is only just beginning.

SomaFM is to Google what streaming audio is to service applications. I’ve been listening to their stations for over a decade now and they never cease to impress me with their new channels, holiday specials and now, a live performance from Steve Roach!?! Wow. Seriously, there is no other audio streaming group on the planet that has been able to pull that one off. And wow, did they. I remember watching the amount of active, unique users listening grow to something around 2,500 while listening to the original broadcast. Impressive? For an ambient show? Impressive for any show, especially an ambient show. Clearly, one of the greatest achievements of any ambient streaming group in history.

So congrats SomaFM. You absolutely earned my donation this time around. And I look forward to many new water bottles arriving at my door in the future. Keep up the great work!

Poor man’s UPS power outage monitor:

# Ping the Wifi router which will turn 
# off during a power outage - if down, shutdown the server
# Run from root crontab every 5 minutes
# */5 * * * * /root/bin/powerdown.sh
	ping -c 1 $1 > /dev/null
	[ $? -eq 0 ] && exit || /sbin/init 0
for i in
	is_alive_ping $i

Disable screen blanking and start X and synergy on boot:

Put this into /etc/rc.local:

echo -e '\033[9;0]\033[14;0]' > /dev/console
su - michael -c startx &

Put this into your user’s .xsession:

xset s off
xset s noblank
/usr/bin/synergyc Michaels-MacBook-Pro.local &
exec fluxbox

Make sure you have /etc/hosts setup to resolve the hostname above and preferably, a reservation in your router’s DHCPd for that host as well.

I’m an avid collector of electronic and ambient music. In particular, I try to get my hands on as many Steve Roach releases as I can afford. Over the years, I’ve collected some truly ground breaking albums from Roach’s discography including solo works and collaborations with other ingenious artists. I’m sure there are a few I’ve missed so if you feel I would benefit from your suggestion, feel free to email me.

This is my list of Essential Steve Roach releases that I could not live without that were chosen out of my personal library:

- Structures from Silence
- Quiet Music 1, 2 and 3
- Dreamtime Return
- World’s Edge (disc two, To the threshold of silence)
- Kiva
- Well of Souls
- Cavern of Sirens
- Ascension of Shadows
- Light Fantastic
- Arc of Passion
- Low Volume Music
- Immersion 1, 2, 3, and 4

Of course, there are many other single pieces that exist on other albums that I did not list here. Examples are:

- The Serpent’s Lair – Ochua
- Artifacts – Your own eyes
- Now – Cloud Motion
- Empetus – The Memory

…and so many others.

Humming Bird Photos

I was able to get out for a little while Sunday with the Jeep to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Took a couple of simple photos. Next time I hope to have more time to get more.